Sunday, March 31, 2019

Building A Hero @Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

I am a pieces and parts person. When I first got interested in writing books, I was ten. My heroines all looked and acted like Trixie Belden, but my heroes had Tim Considine’s hair and Ricky Nelson’s eyes. They danced like Chubby Checker and sang like most any guy who ever walked across the sand in a beach movie. When they talked, they stared right into the heroine’s eyes like Michael Landon on Bonanza, and they kissed like…well, I really didn’t know—I’d never been kissed.

One of my favorites—even then I liked old movies—was Gordon MacRae, and my heroes often ended up with open Irish faces. I’d imagine them singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at every whipstitch. I wrote and wept and wished I was Shirley Jones. (Except that she was David Cassidy’s stepmother and since we were about the same age and he was seriously cute, I couldn’t have felt motherly about him.)

But you know what happens. I grew up. I married my own hero and had a family and now we have seven grandkids and I don’t know where the time went, but I’m still creating heroes from pieces and parts.

If they’re veterans, they’re quiet ones like my husband, with scars inside and memories they don’t pull out very often. They play their guitars the way he does and look at the heroine the way he still—thank you, God—looks at me. They are tall like my oldest son and built like my youngest son and have my son-in-law’s laugh that will make you happy no matter how mad you want to be. They are irreverent and funny like my old boss and completely loyal like a couple of my brothers and my husband’s best friend. They speak with Sam Elliott’s voice and walk like the four Irishmen in my favorite commercial of all time http://adage.com/article/creativity-pick-of-the-day/tullamore-dew-short-film-tells-beautiful-tale-lost-friend/245279/. Their hair and the color of their eyes are…well, whatever they end up being, because they never matter to me. I don’t mention them often—that way, the reader can make them look however they want them to. I want the hero, after all, to be theirs.

I spend an unconscionable amount of time on Facebook. Yesterday I clicked on a link to Hugh Jackman singing “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8avt6iqAsLc It was, oh, inspiring, to say the least. I do believe my next hero will have an Aussie accent. Hard to do if he’s born in Small Town, Mid-America, but there must be a way.

There you have, whether you wanted it or not, the recipe for Liz Flaherty heroes simply because her post was at the end of the month and she couldn’t think of anything else to write. Now tell us where you find the men you write but we all love.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Splash of Danger with your Romance? by @KariLemor #RomanceGems


Romance is such a broad category. You’ve got contemporary, historical, or futuristic. Paranormal, fantasy, erotic, suspense, rom-com, inspirational, and many others. You can put several of these together.

When I finished my first book (and the series it belonged to), I needed to figure out how to categorize the story. Contemporary, for sure. But it had a criminal element and an ex-military FBI agent.  So the story was sent out as a romantic suspense.



But after reading quite a few other suspense novels, I realized mine was nothing like the run-for-your-life-every-second-of-the-book kind. It also did not have the intense detail of third world power struggles or the inner workings of organized crime. I will readily admit I’m too lazy to do the kind of research and world building those kinds of novels require. And I hate having beloved characters die, which is unrealistic in intense suspense. My focus is always on the characters and their relationship.

Chatting with another author who writes similar to me, she called it ‘light suspense’ and I like that description.  Thus my tagline “Romance with a splash of danger” was born. I love focusing on the relationship between the hero and heroine and how they react to the conflict in their lives and between each other. But throwing in lots of danger and putting them in peril also gives me a rush. I love to add tons of angst and really hit people with emotions. One way to do that is what we (in the fan fiction community – yes, that’s where I got my start writing) call hurt/comfort.  You hurt one character (either emotionally or physically) so the other one can comfort them. I do love torturing my characters. Muahahaha! *rubs hands together maniacally*

So even though I don’t have the run-for-your-lives-every-second kind of book, I still like adding a few good battles for my characters to go through. Physical and emotional. If you like a lighter suspense novel, then please check out my first series:  Love on the Line –  where the heroes are all from the same military unit in Afghanistan. Danger is in their blood, but with the right woman by their side, they are strong enough for any new challenge.

Currently you can get all three books for under $5!! They are available at most online retailers (see website below for the links)

And FYI, I had a number of people ask for a prequel to Running Target, to show how the main characters actually met. This is in the works and will be offered to my mailing list subscribers. If you’d like to be on my list, you can sign up on my website. I rarely send more than once a month, if that, and usually only when I have new information or a sale… No spam, promise!


Also, while you’re on my site, check for the free short story (Canobie Kisses) and novella (Unstable Ground) that I’m giving away.  And I LOVE hearing from readers and will respond to all.  Send me a note letting me know if you liked one of my books!! I love talking about my books and the characters in them!

See you soon,

Kari

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Cool Month of March by Nora LeDuc #RomanceGems

Celebrate!
Many say March comes in like a lion, but I say it comes in like a New Year. At last, a season that excites everyone after the storms and frigid temperatures. (My apologies to the warm weather people.) Every day I gaze out at the shrinking snowbanks searching for signs of the hibernating grass. I can never declare that spring is officially here until the bank by my driveway built by the snowplow shrinks away. Then, it’s celebration time.


Town Meeting—note blue jeans are required (g)
As I travel around my small town, I spy the town meeting and school district signs. They have sprouted up almost overnight and decorate the street corners and yards of my neighbors. It's still not warm enough to shed my winter coat, but I'm encouraged when I spot the plastic tubing for the future syrup. These pipelines run from maple tree to maple tree on the edge of the woods.There's something about the lines and the familiar sap buckets catching the drip-drip-drip that reassures and promises better weather ahead. In case you didn't know, the liquid flows when the daytime temperatures rise above freezing. Of course, the night temperature must fall below 32 degrees, but we're inside snug and toasty by then.

My spring flower bulbs from Breck’s arrive.
Another exciting moment is when my Breck's Flower order arrives. Each winter, the nursery convinces me with their beautiful catalog I too can grow flowers that look like the ones in their pictures. Sure, I can! I choose the prettiest bloomers and dream of them outside my house. Unfortunately, March weather is often unpredictable and many purchases have arrived after a nor'easter. Yes, that's one of my deliveries in the picture.

Yup, not quite time to go in the ground.

Finally, I take a hard look at my writing production. After a winter of tapping away on my laptop, it’s time to assess my newest creation. I hope my book will entertain many readers with hours of happiness that warm your heart.

Until we meet again, happy reading, my friends.



My latest release Midnight Girl. 

~ ~ ~
LUCK O' THE IRISH Giveaway: 3 Ways to Win

Our March Giveaway is in full swing. See all the prizes on the Monthly Giveaway page.

Comment & Win
Leave a comment on any post in March + Your Email Addy—written out, i.e. Mary at yahoo dot com. (We need your email to verify you are who you say you are and to contact you.)

The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries.

Prizes: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card at the end of each week beginning March 8 for a total of 4 Amazon Gift Cards.

Friends Tell Friends

To enter, send your friends to visit us. When your friend visits and reads a post, she should (1) leave a comment with her email addy written out (2) leave the name and email of the friend who referred her. (Readers, coordinate this with your friend.)

Both names/emails will be entered in Friends Tell Friends Giveaway. The more friends you bring; the greater your chances of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries at end of March.

Luck O' The Irish Rafflecopter

1st Grand Prize Winner: The Honor of Naming a Female Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

2nd Grand Prize Winner: The Honor of Naming a Male Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Enter the Rafflecopter and the other Giveaways often. The more you enter; the better your chances to win.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

REVERSE WHAT? @kathleenlawless, #romancegems, #kaelysteel


Would women today really want more than one man in their life at the same time?  Likely not, but they sure seem to enjoy reading about it and writing about it. And if each hot male serves a different purpose, meets a different need…. Being adored and worshiped by more than one man actually sounds quite fun.

Reverse Harem is currently rocking the charts as a hot new sub-genre within the romance world. The notion being if one man is good, more than one must be better. 

It’s an interesting concept, so when a fellow romance author threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to try my hand, I ran with it. I chose a different pen name because the genre has a distinct following and some of my readers may not enjoy embrace the idea. Many of the books written include a relationship between two or more men in the harem, which is not what I want to write. I make it all about my heroine. She is the star. The guys are the supporting actors.

 The project proved to be more difficult than I originally thought. A lot of these books are set in the paranormal world, which makes it easier to suspend disbelief.  But I’m an in-the-moment kind of gal, so I decided to write a contemporary setting for my five hotties, whom I call the G Force Five, and the woman who desperately needs their protection, whether she knows it or not.


The resulting G Force stories are short, sexy novellas, about half the length of a normal book. I did a series of three because I needed that much room to learn about the men, to watch them grow, to let them surprise me as well as the reader, and see how they interact with the lady. And of course, because I like my heroes to suffer, I gave them lots of baggage to overcome on their journey.

 If I've succeeded in sparking your curiosity, Redeeming Jenna is free today on Amazon. Check it out.
https://www.amazon.com/Redeeming-Jenna-Force-Five-Book-ebook/dp/B07LC4ZGYP/

And don't miss out on the contest.  There are only a few more days to enter to win.



Win great prizes with #RomanceGems LUCK O' THE IRISH March #Giveaway. COMMENT & WIN has $5.00 AMZ Gift Card up for grabs every week. FRIENDS TELL FRIENDS, new giveaway, open now. Enter for chance to win a Romance Reader's T-shirt or Audiobook. Rafflecopter, awesome prizes, opens Mar. 4. Details here: https://romancegems.blogspot.com/2019/03/luck-o-irish-march-giveaway-by.html 



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Do you #Read your books or #listen to them? by Peggy Jaeger #RomanceGems

I was the first person I knew who bought a Kindle back when the retail price was $349.00.


Now they're what? $39? 50 dollars? Since I flew so much and always had 3 or four books packed into my luggage, adding to the cost per pound of air travel, I figured the investment was worth the convenience. And it was. I lovelovelove my Kindle, still, to this day. Ereaders are still, apparently, popular even though real honest-to-God-books are making a comeback.

But...

I was recently exposed to the world of audiobooks and I have to tell you, I think the future in books is in this rapidly growing industry.

Have you heard of AUDIBLE?

I never had until one of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press notified its authors they were offering us the option to have our books uploaded to audio. At first I resisted. After all, I wrote books. Book were made to be, well, read. Not listened to. And besides, I arrogantly asserted that no narrator but myself could do my words justice. I wrote them. I was the one who knew how they should sound, not some anonymous narrator who wouldn't do the work any justice.

Arrogant, thy name is Peggy.

Then, one day, I met a woman who changed my opinion forever. A patient of my husband's, the woman was sixty-eight, housebound for the most part, and blind since birth. She knew I was a writer and asked if any of my books were available on audio tape. She was a great "reader" of books in Braille, but she'd been afflicted in the past few years with debilitating arthritis and could no longer use her fingers to read. Her daughter had gotten her a subscription to Audible and now she could enjoy her favorite author's again by listening to their newest books.

It's not often I am struck speechless. I think I can count of the fingers of one hand and still have 4 left over the times I have been. So, I did what I usually do when I'm exposed to something I'm unfamiliar with: I researched.

According to a report issued by the Audio Book Publishers Association, audio sales jumped 22.7 % in 2017 to just under $2.5 billion in sales. Another published in AP, states that book publishers are embracing the format more and more. Then I spoke to several of my author friends. Unanimously they agreed that offering your books in audio was a great way to get your books in front of people who couldn't read in a conventional way.

So...
I have now begun offering my titles on audio. Next month I'll explain the process, but for now, I'm thrilled to announce the following titles are currently available on Audible.
During the next few months, two more titles will be added:
I hope to have the rest of my books uploaded within the coming year as well.








Next month for me: what goes into getting your book available in Audio. Until then, don't forget the March Romance Gems giveaways:
 There are three different ways you can win. See all the prizes on the Monthly Giveaway page. GOOD LUCK!


Comment & Win:
Leave a comment on any post in March + Your Email Address—written out, i.e. Mary at yahoo dot com. (We need your email to verify you are who you say you are and to contact you.)

The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries.

Prizes: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card at the end of each week beginning March 8 for a total of 4 Amazon Gift Cards.

Friends Tell Friends:
To enter, send your friends to visit us. When your friend visits and reads a post, she should (1) leave a comment with her email address written out (2) leave the name and email of the friend who referred her. (Readers, coordinate this with your friend.)

Both names/emails will be entered in Friends Tell Friends Giveaway. The more friends you bring; the greater your chances of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries at end of March.

Prizes: Romance Readers Tee & Audiobook by Nancy Fraser

Luck O' The Irish Rafflecopter:

1st Grand Prize Winner
The Honor of Naming a Female Charactein an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

2nd Grand Prize Winner
The Honor of Naming a Male Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Other Rafflecopter Prizes are shown on the Monthly Giveaway page.

Enter the Rafflecopter and the other Giveaways often. The more you enter; the better your chances to win.

Click to enter LUCK O' THE IRISH Romance Gems Giveaway

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Coffee and Conversation with the #RomanceGems

Today, we're introducing a new feature ... Coffee and Conversation! If you ask ... the Gems will answer. So grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage and join us for some great conversation. This month's topic: As a romance author, when you read for pleasure, what do you read?

"I write contemporary romance (unless it's a time travel) so I prefer to read historical romance to relax away from contemporary world issues. I do enjoy Regency and my favorite authors there are Gail Whitiker (so very proper) and our own Cheryl Bolen. Another favorite is Elizabeth Hoyt. ~ Bonnie Edwards


"Because I write historical romance, much of my personal reading consists of non-fiction research books that put me in eighteenth century England. I also enjoy biographies, particularly of dead English women and Englishmen. When I’m craving fiction, I gravitate to English mysteries set between the twentieth-century wars. If they feature a bit of humor and throw in a romance, I’m in heaven. Favorite authors are Jane Austen and Josephine Tey." ~ Cheryl Bolen


"Since the stories I write are character driven with strong dialogue, I am drawn to cozy mysteries—heavy in narrative, internal thoughts, along with a body or two landing in the middle of a scene, for my personal reading pleasure." ~ Connie Vines


"I love to read dark twisted romance that includes mafia romances and I enjoy office/billionaire romances. I love to read stories by Skye Warren, Bella J, Willow Winters, Whitney G. and Ali Parker. I spend a lot of evenings reading, and have already blown up two kindles and my iPhone. (LOL) There are two authors who are non-romance that I enjoy reading as well, Jonathan Kellerman and Patricia Cornwall." ~ Constance Bretes


"I've recently discovered Tess Gerritsen and a new mystery author named Victoria Selman." ~ Jan Scarbrough

"I'll take Romance—Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, actually, Romance of just about any persuasion—along with mystery/suspense/thrillers." ~ Joan Reeves


"When I read, I want to immerse myself in the flow of the words, how they conjure up an intriguing setting, show enhanced senses and the turbulent emotions of the characters. I enjoy Barbara O’Neal (loved The Art of Inheriting Secrets), Sarah Addison Allen’s magic realism, Jayne Ann Krentz’s Arcane books and, for a bit of fun, anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips." ~ Judith Hudson


"Because I write 4 books a year, paranormal romance or romantic suspense, I love to read outside my genres. I adore a good Fantasy book and lately, I've been reading a lot of Young Adult Fiction. Maybe some day I'll try my hand at writing one!" ~ Karen Whiddon


"I have to admit that my favorite genre to read is also romance. There's nothing quite like seeing two people, who for some reason shouldn't be together, manage to fall in love, fight for that love, fix their differences, and end up living happily ever after." ~ Kari Lemor


"Whatever I read it has to be a page-turner. When I can stop analyzing the writer’s craft and just be a reader is the best." ~ Kathleen Lawless

"History! As in non-fiction, with science a close second. Because of the circles I travel in—mostly paranormal enthusiasts, writers, and history buffs—I’m always heading down a rabbit hole. Victorian lifestyle, folklore, and space exploration are a few favorites. Lately, I’ve been immersed in WWI trench warfare as research for an upcoming book. That’s the only spoiler I'll give. Of course, it’s romance. Happily-ever-after is my jam!" ~ 
Kathryn Hills


“Although my own writing sticks to sweet romance and a newspaper column, my pleasure reading revolves around new books by long-time favorites, re-reads for comfort, and Favorites by Friends. Not to mention the occasional cozy mystery or, the other day, just because, Understood Betsy. Betsy was a muse for me since elementary school days—she still is.” ~ Liz Flaherty

"I read cozy mysteries and I adore JD Robb In Death Series. In addition I have a huge TBR pile as I am a lover of bookstores and am always picking up several unknowns. I like to think that other book readers will give my novels a chance too." ~ Lucinda Race

"Since I write across multiple romance genres, my creative brain is always scrambling. Whether it's a new plot idea, or just keeping three different genres straight, it's often a super-highway of confusion in there! When I read for pleasure, it's either cozy mysteries or very light romantic comedy." ~ Nancy Fraser

"When I'm not writing about people in love or jeopardy, I love to read biographies. Recently I read Marion Ross's story, My Happy Days, about her life and becoming a celebrity in her fifties. I also read Trailblazer about the first black woman journalist for the Washington Post. When she went to get a story, the doorman always told her to use the back door for the maids. Just a sample of how she was treated." ~ Nora LeDuc

"Since my favorite tv shows are usually crime dramas ala Law and Order and Criminal minds, I usually find myself reading police procedurals, romantic suspense and murder mysteries for pleasure." ~ Peggy Jaeger

"I like to read a variety of romance sub-genres, such as contemporary, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. I also enjoy reading science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and YA. Some of my favorite automatic "one-click" authors are Kit Rocha, Lexi Blake, Susan Kaye Quinn, Ilona Andrews, Sarah Lyons Fleming, Elizabeth Hunter, and Nora Roberts." ~ Satin Russell

We'd love to hear from you!  Add your questions or comments below or send via email through the "contact us" link on the bottom of the left sidebar. You can also make a suggestion on what you'd like to discuss here in the future.

Thanks for joining us.

The Romance Gems


đź’– đź’– đź’–

Contest Reminder: We're in the last week of our March contests!

Comment & Win

Leave a comment on any post in March + Your Email Addy—written out, i.e. Mary at yahoo dot com. (We need your email to verify you are who you say you are and to contact you.)

The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries.

Prizes: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card at the end of each week beginning March 8 for a total of 4 Amazon Gift Cards.

Friends Tell Friends

To enter, send your friends to visit us. When your friend visits and reads a post, he or she should leave a comment with their email address written out and include the name and email of the friend who made the referral. (Readers, coordinate this with your friend.)

Both names/emails will be entered in Friends Tell Friends Giveaway. The more friends you bring; the greater your chances of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries at end of March.

Prizes: Romance Readers Tee & Audiobook by Nancy Fraser

Luck O'The Irish Rafflecopter

1st Grand Prize Winner: Name a Female Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

2nd Grand Prize Winner: Name a Male Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

You can find all the Rafflecopter prizes on the Monthly Giveaway tab.
Click to enter LUCK O' THE IRISH Romance Gems Giveaway 

Best of luck to everyone in the draws!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Booksignings: The Good and The Bad by Cheryl Bolen


Since my first book was published 21 years ago I have participated in many book signings, and my experiences have been good and bad. First, the good. I think most published authors will agree that their first booksignings are the the best. Everyone wants your first published book. I sold over a hundred copies at my first booksigning. It was held at our neighborhood independent bookseller’s, and every member of my local Romance Writers’ of America chapter came and bought my book (even though at the time it was a very tiny chapter) and many, many people from my local community came out to support me. 
A Booksigning from My First Book, 1998

 I had another signing for that first book where I sold almost the same amount. A lot of the teachers I used to teach with came to that one. I also went to California where my sister lived, and she arranged a signing at Barnes and Noble where all her friends came, and it too was very successful.

When the next book came out, I got the same amount of publicity for book signings, but those who bought that first book no longer came out in large numbers. Hey, they’d already bought a “romance” book and gotten it signed by the author whom they happened to know. They didn’t need another.

Book signing attendance at subsequent booksignings dropped.

I’ve even done book signings – not in my local community – where I had zero sales.
The West Houston RWA has author autographing at its meetings, and I am really not comfortable signing there. I’ll tell you why. I’d estimate only about ten percent of the chapter members support these signings. And that makes me feel uncomfortable. I always try to support my fellow authors, and when they don’t support me, it hurts my feelings. I know I shouldn’t feel that way. Reading is very subjective. I get that not everyone likes historical romance. There are plenty of genres I don’t like to read. I should have thicker skin. 
One of my last booksignings, at RWA national, San Antonio, publisher booksigning.

After all these years, I’ve gotten to the point I realize the small amount of sales from direct contact won’t impact my royalties, so I choose not to do signings. Except for those sponsored by publishers at the national RWA conference. These are great. The reason? The publishers GIVE away these books. I don’t feel like I’m sitting there begging someone to buy my book. There’s a huge line of readers lining up before the doors open. They’re just dying to get your book. Within ten minutes, the stacks of books on your table has been wiped out, and all the fans leave with smiles on their faces.

Another reason I don’t have to do book signings any more is that since the proliferation of eBooks, 98 percent of my sales now come from eBooks. When I started in this business, 100 percent of my sales were paperbacks.

Not having to do booksignings is just one more reason to love my eBooks.—Cheryl Bolen, whose newest release is Last Duke Standing, a Lords of Eton Regency romance.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Welcome the first day of spring!, by Judith Hudson #Romance Gems

Hi Everyone,
Happy Spring Equinox!
It might be my Scandinavian blood, but I always feel the subtle seasonal change that come with the equinoxes and solstices. Winter solstice is a time of quiet rejoicing when the sun begins it’s return north. As the days inch longer, I can almost feel the plants stirring beneath the ground.
Then Spring! The warm weather burst into the Pacific northwest this week after a month of unrelenting, record breaking cold and snow, the last vestiges of which, small piles in the shade of the hedge by the driveway, will probably be gone today. Yay!
In each of the four full-length books of my Fortune Bay series, the women hold a fun ladies-night to celebrate the change of the seasons. As they share confidences over a bottle of wine, Frankie sharpens her tarot card reading skills, often surprising the women when her readings hit so close to home.
Here’s a short excerpt from Book One, Summer of Fortune, where Maddie attends her first solstice gathering, in this case celebrating summer, with her new friends, Frankie and Louise.

Maddie sat back and listened as Frankie and Louise bantered back and forth. She barely recognized herself, a woman with silver hoops in her ears and a cluster of bracelets on her wrist that tinkled like wind chimes when she moved. A woman taking charge of her life—because that was what they had decided the evening would honor, in the spirit of wise women’s solstice gatherings stretching back for thousands of years. Nothing too weird, they’d all agreed, just something to encourage their own awareness of their personal power. They would each ask for, or choose, a direction to follow for the next fertile quarter of the year.
And for Maddie it had to be fertile indeed. The next equinox fell before the opening of her show, the harvest, so to speak, of her summer’s bounty.
Frankie was playing high priestess tonight. Over her loose linen pants, she wore a robe of sapphire silk with a border of white Celtic symbols down the long front lapels. In honor of the evening, she had abandoned her customary single braid and wore her hair loose on her shoulders, adorned with a garland of lavender. She spoke in a quiet voice as she shuffled the Tarot deck. “Traditionally, the summer solstice was a time of renewal. A time to release all sadness, pain and fear. A time to prepare to reap the abundance. A time to find a husband.” “Bring it on,” Louise intoned.
Frankie closed her eyes, a smile on her lips, and continued to shuffle the deck. Maddie concentrated on Frankie’s hands, letting the soothing motion settle her nerves.
Placing the brightly patterned deck on the table in front of Maddie, Frankie said, “Think of a question, then cut the cards. Be careful though. The tarot knows the question in your heart.”
Maddie smiled and a shiver ran through her as she tried to look deep inside for the answer. There was really only one question on her mind. “Will my show be a success?”
Frankie took the deck from Maddie’s hands. “This is a basic, five card spread. Simple, but very powerful.

“The central card represents the present.” Frankie flipped over the first card, a knight on a spirited horse, and placed it on the table. “The Knight of Wands.”
She squinted at Maddie. “Are you sure your question is about your work? The Knight of Wands can be an idea or an approach to life, but most often it’s about a man.”
“Like Jake,” Louise said.
Busted.


Summer of Fortune is currently free at all online book sellers. You can find your copy HERE.

How do you celebrate the arrival of spring? For me it’s being able to get back out in the garden, and this year I’m starting from scratch in my new house. I'm sure I’ll be talking about that a lot on my facebook page. Please join me there – I’ll need all the help I can get!

www.facebook.com/JudithHudsonAuthor/
Now get out and enjoy the sun!

Judy Hudson

P.S. You can find longer excerpts from all of the Fortune Bay books on my website.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Living History – My Interview with a Time Traveler by #Kathryn Hills

Gunfire. Smoke. Sounds of screaming men. A fierce battle is underway. Or, is it?

Welcome to the fascinating world of modern-day time travel!

According to definitions.net, living history, also known as re-enactment, is the act of incorporating historic tools, activities, and dress into an interactive experience that gives observers and participants a sense of stepping back in time. In this case, the battle waging is part of Redcoats and Rebels, the largest military re-enactment in New England with nearly 1,000 soldiers portraying British, Irish, Spanish, Scottish, French, and Colonial troops. The event takes place each summer at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Redcoats & Rebels - Photo by Chris Pratt
I’m lucky enough to call one of those participants my friend. Jennifer Emerson is a living history playwright, First-Person Interpreter/re-enactor, performer, and speaker for nearly two decades. As part of His Majesty's 54th Regiment of Foot—a British regiment—she transforms into Naomi Wade, a camp cook, laundress, and aid to the surgeon.

Jennifer and the other historic re-enactors I’ve since come to know are deeply passionate. This is dedicated, hard work. Years of study and preparation, countless hours of practice, hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to become someone they admire or wish to embody from the past.

Jennifer with fellow re-enactor Robert Lecce - Photo by Chris Pratt
Q “Why do you do it?” I asked.

A “Seeing the fire, smelling the food, learning about the labor required to live in the past—perhaps even to survive a Revolutionary War battle—it’s an enchantment to the senses. Reading about history is great. It’s required for this endeavor. But seeing it, feeling it, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells first-hand… There is no equal. What re-enactment does is add another layer to learning, a flesh and blood element. Clothing, tools, and language all make for a rich sensory experience. It’s visual, tactile, and exciting for all ages.

“Not every re-enactor is in First-Person,” she explains further. “Some are in Third-Person - dressed accurately but being themselves. Some are in Second-Person - dressed accurately and playing a character while knowing you are from another time.”

Q “So, you’ve told me why you do this for others – to teach. Why do you do it for you?”

A Long pause. “For a few fleeting moments I’m a time-traveler. There is no better thing for a historical writer and performer. It’s another era, a world gone forever. Yes, there is the risk of romanticizing the past, but most re-enactors strive for realism. The past is more than most imagine. There’s much to learn there.”

Naomi with the surgeon, fellow re-enactor Dan Newman
Photo by Chris Pratt
Q “Why Naomi Wade?”

A “Rich ladies with fine dresses and pretty hair were fun to play, but after a decade that got boring for me. I wanted to portray a “work-a-day” woman. To me, that’s where the real stories are. Naomi is a survivor; a London girl and fiercely loyal to King George III. Yet the love of her life was lost in this war. She churns butter, cooks over an open flame, washes clothing in a tub, and assists the surgeon in caring for the men, even during amputations. Her story is important to understand.”

Q “So, Naomi is based on a real person?”

A “She’s a composite character, meaning I’ve incorporated stories from many factual individuals into one. That way more of their stories can be told. I use primary sources, actual letters and journals from the time period, plus secondary sources, and modern history books.

“Naomi is also evolving. The surgeon taught her to read, and she’s learning 18th century herbal medicine. I’ll keep you posted on where she’s headed next.”


I can’t help but wonder if the re-enactment enthusiasts I’ve introduced you to here would travel back in time if given the opportunity. The answer is a resounding, “YES!” for one of my secondary characters in Hellfire and Handbaskets. Re-enactor Deirdra Adams has quite an adventure! She may even have more hijinks up her dainty Victorian sleeves in the future. Or, is it the past? Maybe both? *wink*

Here’s a link to Book 2 of my Time Traveler’s Journey Series – Hellfire and Handbaskets - if you’d like to meet Miss Adams. My books are stand-alone. No need to read in order.

Follow my author’s Facebook page for more to come about these “modern day time travelers” and the historic locations we frequent. To learn more about me and my books, visit my web site.

~Kathryn~


Sources & Links 

Jennifer Emerson        Petticoat Pages

Old Sturbridge Village         Redcoats & Rebels

YouTube Video of Redcoats & Rebels

Photographer Chris Pratt on flickr       Videographer Chris Pratt on vimeo


Our MARCH GIVEAWAYS are in full swing!

Comment & Win - Leave a comment on any post in March + Your Email Addy—written out, i.e. Mary at yahoo dot com. (We need your email to verify you are who you say you are and to contact you.) The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries.

Prizes: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card at the end of each week beginning March 8 for a total of 4 Amazon Gift Cards

Friends Tell Friends - To enter, send your friends to visit us. When your friend visits and reads a post, she should (1) leave a comment with her email addy written out (2) leave the name and email of the friend who referred her. (Readers, coordinate this with your friend.) Both names/emails will be entered in Friends Tell Friends Giveaway. The more friends you bring; the greater your chances of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries at end of March.

Prizes: Romance Readers Tee & Audiobook by Nancy Fraser

Luck O' The Irish Rafflecopter - Be a Star—Name a Character

1st Grand Prize Winner - The Honor of Naming a Female Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. 2nd Grand Prize Winner - The Honor of Naming a Male Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Visit our Monthly Giveaway Page to learn more. Remember, the more you enter; the better your chances to win.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Food, Fun, and Giveaways by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

Well, St. Patrick's Day has come and gone. Hopefully everyone behaved themselves and didn't overdo the revelry too much.

When I can get my hands on a nice piece of corned beef (not easy in Eastern Canada), I love to make corned beef and cabbage on the holiday. It's my way of sharing some of my family heritage with my grandchildren. This year, though, I decided to try another meal I remembered from my childhood ... my Grandma Kelley's Irish Coddle.

Irish Coddle is a one-pot stew of sorts that's good all year round, not just on St. Patrick's Day. If you're a fan of bacon (who isn't?) and sausage, this is an easy recipe for a lazy weekend supper.


Ingredients:
  • 10 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. bangers or other high quality pork sausages
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 onions, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
  • 2 cups beef broth
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Next, brown the bangers in the reserved bacon fat for a few minutes, just until they start to brown but not so they are cooked all the way through. Remove the sausages from the pot and set aside. Discard any leftover bacon fat in the bottom but keep the crispy bits.
  4. Layer half of the sliced potatoes, then layer half of the sliced onions over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle half of the bacon and one tablespoon of parsley on top. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and onions, seasoning with salt and pepper again and sprinkling with the remaining bacon and another tablespoon parsley. Place the browned sausages/bangers on top and pour the beef broth over everything. (Hint: I prefer to cut my sausage into chunks rather than leave them whole as in the picture but either way works.)
  5. Cover the pot with a lid and place it in the oven. Bake for 3 hours, checking halfway through cooking to make sure the liquid hasn't all dried up and adding an extra cup of broth if necessary to keep about 1 inch of liquid covering the bottom of the pot at all times.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of chopped parsley before serving. Dublin Coddle is very forgiving and can stand cooking an extra hour or two if you need it, and the leftovers are amazing the next day even.
Enough about food. Let's get down to some fun news of an upcoming monthly post. Musings From the Romance Gems Authors will appear on the 26th of the month and be filled with comments and insights into what makes us tick! (Scary thought!)

While we have some pre-chosen topics based on often-asked questions, we'd love to hear suggestions from our readers for topics you'd like to see included.

Don't forget, there's still another week left to enter all three of our March giveaways.


Comment & Win

Leave a comment on any post in March + Your Email Addy—written out, i.e. Mary at yahoo dot com. (We need your email to verify you are who you say you are and to contact you.)

The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries.

Prizes: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card at the end of each week beginning March 8 for a total of 4 Amazon Gift Cards.

Friends Tell Friends

To enter, send your friends to visit us. When your friend visits and reads a post, he or she should leave a comment with their email address written out and include the name and email of the friend who made the referral. (Readers, coordinate this with your friend.)

Both names/emails will be entered in Friends Tell Friends Giveaway. The more friends you bring; the greater your chances of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries at end of March.

Prizes: Romance Readers Tee & Audiobook by Nancy Fraser

Luck O'The Irish Rafflecopter

1st Grand Prize Winner: Name a Female Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

2nd Grand Prize Winner: Name a Male Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

You can find all the Rafflecopter prizes on the Monthly Giveaway tab.



Best of luck to everyone in the draws!

Nancy

Thursday, March 21, 2019

When Life Gives You Lemons...by Karen Kelley #RomanceGems

     When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
    
     I love reading the posts from the Gems group. Like Kari, this is a time for change in mine and Karl's life. On April 20, 2016 we took a deep breath and left Henrietta, Texas on an adventure. We'd downsized and sold the house. For the next few years we traveled to 39 states. For a couple who rarely took adventures, this was a huge step.

     Suddenly, we were kids again. We saw and did things we would never have thought about doing. We went to National Forests, we were mesmerized by Elk and Geese, even Pink Flamingos. By really tall mountains and waterfalls.

     Then there were the people we met along the way. Friends who still correspond with us.

     Different foods we got to try, and it was a good thing we hiked a lot.

     We had solar panels installed, an inverter, and three marine size batteries. Boondocking was great. We could park in the middle of nowhere and still have electricity.

     But that chapter is closing. At least with the RV. We were in Tifton, GA when Karl's lung collapsed. Then he was transferred to Atlanta. Me driving in Atlanta was an--experience. Since I hadn't really driven our truck since we became full time RVers, yes, it was definitely an experience. I think my daughter's finger imprints are still embedded on the dash. I did manage with her help.

     Karl is on oxygen now, but we adapted. We came back to Texas where his doctors are. We've been in Texas long enough to know it's time to let someone else have an adventure. We put the RV up for sale.

     I'm almost certain we'll have more adventures in our future. We'll never regret the last few years. I'm pretty sure some of those adventures will end up in my books. I know I've learned that I'm stronger for it. I can now drive a big truck through the middle of some crazy busy traffic, I'm not afraid of trying new things, and I'm looking forward to what we can do next.

     Have you been on an adventure? I'd love to hear about it. Or maybe you're planning one? Enquiring minds want to know.
 

LUCK O' THE IRISH Giveaway: 3 Ways to Win 

1. Comment & Win
Leave a comment on any post in March + Your Email Addy—written out, i.e. Mary at yahoo dot com. (We need your email to verify you are who you say you are and to contact you.)  
The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries.
Prizes: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card at the end of each week beginning March 8 for a total of 4 Amazon Gift Cards.
2. Friends Tell Friends
To enter, send your friends to visit us. When your friend visits and reads a post, he or she should leave a comment with their email address written out and include the name and email of the friend who made the referral. (Readers, coordinate this with your friend.)
Both names/emails will be entered in Friends Tell Friends Giveaway. The more friends you bring; the greater your chances of winning. Winner selected by random draw from eligible entries at end of March.
Prizes: Romance Readers Tee & Audiobook by Nancy Fraser
3. Luck O'The Irish Rafflecopter
1st Grand Prize Winner: Name a Female Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.
2nd Grand Prize Winner: Name a Male Character in an Author's upcoming Book plus $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.
You can find all the Rafflecopter prizes on the Monthly Giveaway tab.

 
Best,
Karen Kelley
www.authorkarenkelley.com


                                                             Coming Soon